Thank you to Noozhawk’s Peter Hartmann and Stacey Wright for the Sept. 18 story, “First Responders at Conception Disaster Made Valiant Effort Facing ‘Worst Call of Our Careers’.”

None of us can even imagine what must have been going through the minds of Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol Officers Karl Halamicek and Ryan Kelly and the other first responders to the tragedy, so it was enlightening to hear their perspective on the dive boat fire.

And kudos to them for the care they took to protect the victims. I’m sure their families are grateful.

Mary York
Santa Barbara

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Thank you for sharing the story of the two Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol officers who responded to the Conception fire. What an unfortunate tragedy that was, all the way around.

Pete Burwell
Santa Barbara

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Regarding the Sept. 17 article, “Sheriff Bill Brown Reports ICE Picked Up Fewer Released Santa Barbara County Jail Inmates in 2018,” Brown states that 99 percent of undocumented immigrants seek a better life and work hard, but it’s the 1 percent who don’t deserve to be in our country for breaking the law twice. Basically, that makes it all the illegal immigrants in our jails.

Sheriff Brown, you choose to incarcerate those who have broken Santa Barbara County law, but why should you get to make the decision that the feds don’t get the same opportunity for a broken federal law? County laws are good, federal laws are bad?

So now, you get to choose what laws to enforce even though you didn’t make the laws? I didn’t think that’s the way the process worked.

Also, Brown emphasized that his agency does not ask anyone incarcerated in jail to provide their immigration status, but then states that 99 percent of undocumented immigrants seek a better life and work hard, while criminals account for a very small percentage. Is it me or am I the only one confused that if you don’t ask their immigration status, how does one know what percentage of illegal immigrants are criminals?

I think the question missing is what percentage of inmates who are in our jails are here illegally? And of course, if you don’t ask, I guess we’ll never know, will we?

Chris Anderson

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Although the Conception dive boat fire likely progressed more rapidly than could have been mitigated due to a host of factors, this tragedy serves as a clarion call to government leaders for enhancements to the fire-defensive posture by local and state officials and state fire training.

Marine firefighting is long overdue for a modern training curriculum. This could be used as a platform for agencies tasked with legitimate jurisdictional authority for marine firefighting duties to begin to deploy adequate and capable resources needed for vessel fires so as to properly protect human life.

There are many government agencies that may hold authority regarding the design and standards of fire prevention relative to vessel construction. Any enhancements to the fire prevention leg of the protection of human life on the water is not likely to be realized in the near term.

Recognize that a vessel inherently contains many of the firefighting challenges found on land, but all in the same space. A combustible building construction, confined space hazards, redundant electrical systems, and filled with combustible and flammable liquids further complicate the firefighting operations challenge. When combined with high occupancy, limited routes of egress and no early warning audible alert, the potential for disaster increases.

Finally, the development of a standardized curriculum for marine firefighting in California is another critical leg in any plan to protect the public from the negative consequences of fire in a vessel on the water.

Paul Matheis

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